Odwa is a graduate of Christel House South Africa. He grew up in a hostel in Langa, living with his mother and four brothers. The home lacked necessary resources such as food and water. Odwa expresses his gratitude towards one of the hostel elders, who always ensured he had something to eat each day. Reflecting on his childhood, Odwa describes the elders’ actions as the true meaning of ‘Ubuntu,’ which means ‘human kindness’.
The feeling of Ubuntu continued to surround him from the time he joined Christel House in the fifth grade. Christel House became his family, where he felt a sense of belonging among his fellow students and teachers. At first, Odwa struggled with the English language, and at times his behavior was also in need of discipline. The support from his teachers helped him master the English language and develop a strong sense of self-esteem. Mr. Stern and Mr. Herdien are two teachers he remembers as his 'tough Uncles', who guided him along the way.
Today Odwa operates Ndibano Tours, a professional and community-based township tour business. He has earned a growing list of accomplishments, including a tourism degree and a qualified guide certificate for the metropolitan area of Cape Town, South Africa.
Odwa aspires to see ‘...South Africa unite—becoming one, embracing the true meaning of Ubuntu; becoming a true rainbow nation that doesn't have gaps. We all have a role to play to see change happen, and I believe I'm playing my role in the tours I am bringing people together.’
Your support is helping Christel House South Africa students, like Odwa, attend college, pursue a career and accomplish their dreams. Thank you for making an investment in our future.
Aiko (far right) is a graduate of Christel House Mexico. She attended Christel House for six years and is now part of the Christel House College & Careers program.
Aiko lives with her parents, sister, nephew and grandfather in Mexico City, Mexico. The family relies primarily on government funding for support. Her mother is disabled due to brain surgery and her father tries to pick up odd jobs when they become available, but his work is very inconsistent.
Aiko is currently in her second year at college studying tourism. Her dream is to one day start her own company. In the summer of 2015, she was selected through the College & Careers Program for a six-week internship in Arizona at International Cruise & Excursions (I.C.E., Inc.), a global leisure and travel company. Aiko said “this opportunity is helping me in my future.”
Your support helps young girls at Christel House Mexico, like Aiko, overcome challenges, continue their education and pursue their dreams. Thank you for making an investment in our future.
Sumaiya’s parents wanted to withdraw her from Christel House when she was in the 8th grade. As conservative Muslims, they felt further study was unnecessary, and that she should marry and follow the expectations of her family. But Sumaiya had her own hopes and dreams. With help from the Christel House social worker, Sumaiya convinced her parents to allow her to remain in school. She was determined to study and work, in spite of opposition from relatives. “My grit, determination, interest and commitment towards my studies made my parents realize how important it was to me,” she says.
Respect and admiration for her Christel House teachers led Sumaiya to choose teaching as a career path. She wanted to pass along the gift of knowledge to others. The teaching profession is respected within her community, and enabled Sumaiya to balance religious and family expectations with a career she knows will truly make her happy. She writes, “I am following a traditional pathway, but never letting tradition become a barrier to fulfilling my dream.”
Today, Sumaiya works at St. Paul’s School in Bangalore, and continues to pursue her teaching credentials. “In my community, everyone was against me and my family relating to my decision to study further,” she writes. “My relatives advised my family to stop my studies. They thought a girl should get married and serve her in-laws by being at home. But now that I have persevered, they are proud, and all my cousins have joined colleges and are pursuing their studies.” Your support of ‘Educate an Indian Girl-Child from the Slums’ is helping young girls and women, like Sumaiya, reach their full potential. Thank you for helping these students get the education they need for a brighter future.